Salivan Landscape Ltd. talks plant materials and landscape maintenance for condominium communities!
In recent years, smaller properties with larger building footprints have become the norm. This has created a niche for more innovative landscape architecture that holds up against harsh weather conditions. Due to the high percentage of hardscape (i.e. concrete, asphalt, stone), the selection of plant material, or softscape, is critical if it is to survive extreme heat reflection from hard surfaces and swirling, desiccating winter winds. Ornamental grasses such as Karl Foerster and traditional hardy perennials like Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan and Purple Coneflower) for sun, along with Hosta Lily, Astilbe and Japanese Painted Fern or Silver Fern for shaded areas, have proven to be most successful in trying urban environments. Flower Carpet Roses and native Shrub Roses are very drought and salt tolerant for urban applications. Beech trees, Dwarf Lilac, Dwarf Burning Bush and Dogwood are all effective disease, drought and somewhat salt tolerant trees and shrubs that have lasted through harsh seasonal weather conditions, proving to be good investments.
To maintain a healthy lawn, top dressing and over-seeding with quality grass seed is essential along with aeration and dethatching every couple of years. The optimal time for lawn renovation is spring; however, if the season is dry, the grass seed will dry out and fail to germinate. Dry seed can be blown away and the longer it sits without germinating, the higher the risk of thunderstorms and heavy rains washing the seed and the corporation’s money literally down the drain.
It is important to remember that for a condominium community’s green space to flourish, an irrigation system should be in place. The challenges faced by buildings without automatic irrigation systems are many. The overall mortality of the landscape is high, resulting in plant material replacement sooner than reasonably expected. Depending on the extent of replacement, this could stress the corporation’s reserve fund, as it is replacement of original plant material. If your condominium community does not have an irrigation system or plans to install one, ensure your landscape contractors factor this into their softscape planning to maximize the success of plants and save on excess water usage.
Your community’s landscaping is an investment and not an afterthought in building maintenance. This investment can be easily protected by proper maintenance, planning, and preparation. Always ensure the money spent on landscaping is spent on a well-organized and planned out softscape that will help your condominium community create a buzz and increase property value for all residents. Remember, condominium landscaping has never been more important in terms of curb appeal and environmental stewardship. With a proactive approach between management and landscaping contractors, planning and budgets can be an effective tool in creating and maintaining the most successful gardens for owners and their guests.